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Daily Archives: 26/04/2011

(eagainst) The movie was created in 1950 by Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens using paintings, drawings and sculptures that Picasso made from 1902 to 1949.

On April 26 1937 early afternoon, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, the traditional capital of the Basque Country “Guernica”, was bombed by the Nazi German aviation (the allies of the fascist Franco). This attempt lasted for approximately three and a half hours. Two thousand people, all civilians, got killed and the whole city was left in ruins. This bombing was part of the Nazi experiments, on the effects of cluster and napalm bombs on civilians…

Like millions all over the world, Pablo Picasso was shocked and he expressed his sadness into a magnificent but terrifying painting.

The painting was set out on July 1937 for the International Exhibition of Paris. Then it toured around the world in order to raise money for the Protection of Democracy in Spain. After the victory of Franco in 1939, “Guernica” has found temporary shelter at the “Museum of Modern Art”, New York.

In 1968, Franco decided to expose the painting in Spain. Picasso refused and authorized the Museum of Modern Art to return the painting in Spain only once democracy is restored. In 1973 Picasso died, two years before democracy was restored in Spain. Finally, “Guernica” returned to its homeland and became one of the most important exhibits of the Museum “Prado” in Madrid.

Source: http://eagainst.com/articles/guernica-1950-alain-resnais-robert-hessens/

(economicsnewspaper) Portugal increasingly close to bankruptcy

Less than 24 hours after the resignation of Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the sanction of the market and rating agencies fell, threatening the country with a break of short-term funding, felt, Friday, analysts said. Agencies Fitch and Standard and Poor’s (SP) have deteriorated on Thursday, two notches the debt rating Portuguese direct consequence of the rejection by parliament of the new austerity plan and the collapse of the minority Socialist government. “Fitch does not believe that Portugal can maintain market access at favorable this year,” the agency said in a statement, saying that the probability of external financial support “short term” had “greatly increased” .

The response to these decisions was immediate markets, where rates Portuguese decade reached Friday in meeting a new high since the country’s entry into the euro area (1999 ), at 7.79%, against just over 4% a year ago. “The market is already acting as the obligations Portuguese titles rotten, we must therefore expect further deterioration”, fell within the ING bank in a research note. “The spiral of negative information concerning Portugal continues with vigor,” summed up on Friday, Commerzbank.

The clock continues to run financial

Meeting in Brussels, EU leaders were willing to help “conditional” Portugal, unblocking, like Greece and Ireland, a relief fund whose amount was estimated at 75 billion euros the leader of the finance ministers of the eurozone, Jean-Claude Juncker. But the outgoing Socialist government has again ruled out this possibility, Jose Socrates reaffirmed on Friday that his country had “no need” for a bailout. However, pending the election of a new government at the earliest at the end of May, the financial clock keeps running. And fast. Portugal must repay 4.2 billion euros of debt on April 15 and another 4.9 billion on June 15.

According to economists, this country should have enough money to meet the April deadline, but be unable to fund repayments of June, without new borrowing. Also, “banks may find themselves short of cash well before the government, as was the case in Ireland,” said Daniel Gros of the Center for European Policy Studies. The closure of financial markets is already a reality for public transport companies which are on the brink of “financial breakdown” and threatened to no longer be able to pay salaries, said this week the daily Jornal de Negocios . Tullia Bucco for, an analyst at UniCredit, the solution may pass through the “bridge loans”. “These loans, in the form of direct investments in debt, would certainly help the country to find the funds it needed until June,” she said.

China, which, according to press reports, never denied, has already purchased more than one billion euros of debt Portuguese in January, said she was ready Thursday to “strengthen ties “with Portugal. Other countries, including former Portuguese colonies like Brazil and Timor-Leste, have also repeatedly expressed their “solidarity” with Lisbon, which is expected next week the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. Finally, facing the “peak refinancing” of 15 April, the European Central Bank could again redeem bonds Portuguese “before and after” that date in order to reduce the pressure of the market, said Gilles Moec, economist at Deutsche Bank . But, he cautions, “it will be an exceptional response, pending that Portugal is negotiating for and receiving international aid.”

Source: AFP, The Point – Economy

(NPR) Egypt’s popular revolution was launched from a public square. Now there’s an uprising on factory floors — with labor strikes across the country.

Under the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, many industries were privatized as Egypt turned from a state-controlled to a market-driven economy. But government-owned factories were frequently given to loyalists or foreign buyers who had the right connections. Many of them got rich by cutting wages and benefits.

Now, the workers are fighting back.

In Menoufia, about 90 miles from Cairo in the Nile Delta, the main employer is the Shebin spinning and weaving factory. For generations, local men have worked at the sprawling 150-acre plant, spinning Egyptian cotton into products for the world market.

But the factory is closed now. The workers are all on strike.

They have chanted and marched for more than a month, encouraged by the success of the popular uprising that forced Mubarak to resign, labor activist Hossam Hamalawi says.

“On all levels there is more organizing than I’ve seen before,” he says. “It has been given a boost by the revolution.”

Politicians from Cairo see which way the wind is blowing; these days they come to support the striking workers.

Going On Strike

The Shebin textile factory was privatized in 2007 — sold to an Indonesian multinational company that served customers including Nike and Adidas. The new owners started to drastically cut costs as soon as they took over, a shock to workers who had job security and benefits when it was a state-owned plant, Hamalawi says.

“[At] most of the privatized factories, salaries have been slashed, workers have been laid off, and what we call the bonuses and the allowances, they have also been slashed,” he says.

Now, with Mubarak gone and state security dismantled, the workers decided the time was right. When the owners eliminated another 95 jobs in March, the sit-in began.

Ahmed Khalifi joined the strike when he saw his friends forced out.

“They fired them and accused them of taking drugs, and then they just locked it up,” he says. “Is this an investment? To fire workers and shut the factory?”

Khalifi has worked at the factory for more than 20 years. He says he earns less than $200 a month.

During a tour of the factory, he points out the conditions in the workers washroom. It’s filthy. The doors are open. The walls are grimy. But workers say this is what they have to work with.

Concerns About Corruption

The Indonesian owners have offered a deal: more bonuses, longer contracts and a reinstatement of half of those laid off.

But it’s not enough, Hamalawi says. The workers of the Shebin textile factory are going to court to challenge the original sale and force the owners out.

“They are lobbying the government in order to re-nationalize the factory,” he says, “and return it to the public sector once again.”

Egypt won praise in Europe and the United States for privatizing the economy, but Egyptians were disgusted by the corruption that came with the transformation. Even the military was against “selling Egypt,” as a top army official told state television this week.

“Crony capitalism has grown up in Egypt, particularly in the past decade,” says Michael Hanna, who is in Cairo for the U.S.-based Century Foundation. “And liberal economic policy is tarred with that corruption.”

Hanna says the privatization program — turning public assets into private hands — made some within Mubarak’s inner circle very rich.

“And so it’s very difficult now to try to push policies that are now, in the minds of regular Egyptians, associated with massive distortions in wealth, inequality and corruption,” he says.

There is wide sympathy for the textile workers’ strike, and it will be hard to convince Egyptians that private enterprise, so associated with the old regime, is good for Egypt.

Source: http://www.npr.org/2011/04/20/135542498/in-egypt-revolution-moves-into-the-factories

(eagainstWe welcome all those who respond to our call, whites, blacks, Indians, yellow… whatever language you speak, wherever in the world you live … Let us rebel! The Egyptian people, the people of Tunisia, show us the way. Dictators are installed everywhere. Whether they cover themselves with the veil of democracy, or not. Money and profit lead us to catastrophe. Our life is regulated and controlled by a handful of technocrats. A small minority that wants us isolated in our private sphere. We are feed with the poison of this shameless hypocrisy called morality. In the name of this “morality” and any social imaginary / determinism as the dominant ideology has imposed, we sacrifice any value for a drop of false happiness.

What were the lessons of the theocratic medieval societies and the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin? During these years nobody could dare to challenge the ruling class.Today, however, we experience a new form of oppression. It is not only the state violence, poverty, injustice and wars, things pretty much we see before our eyes almost every day. Not only the criminalization of every form of spontaneity and reaction against the system, that our rulers plan to impose, neither that the modern emperors dissolve countries, invade homes and bomb cities! It is the stance of our society and our place in it. We have sunk into apathy and conformism. The vision of the Western world for endless prosperity – a prosperity that was built up upon the slavery of Africa and Asia – has collapsed. We build invisible walls between us in order to imprison ourselves in them. We find asylum there, we forget the problems of this world, there we feel that we are not being touched by anything. Wars, misery, hungers, those problems are far away from us, away from the safety of our four walls. We live to work… to work tirelessly for a bunch of rich technocrats, these murderers of any creative imagination. The ancient kings had slaves, servants who were begging for a drop of freedom. The modern kings have slaves that are volunteers! This minority has taught us not to despise things. According to them, it is counter-productive and therefore immoral to criticize this rotten world. Values, such as autonomy, democracy, equality, egalitarianism are fading day by day, in a society that produces human machines. Any reference to human rights is regarded with suspicion.When was the last time you found yourself wondering about these concepts? Or rather, when was the last time you really challenged the society of the spectacle, apart from some irrelevant gossip? When was the last time you tried to break these walls, and see beyond at the real happiness?

How will we fight back these little dictators, the various of demagogues and the thousands of rotten minds that doom us in bigotry, racism, xenophobia and fear? How will we ward off those who call this cultural destruction as progress, handing us a pseudo-rational society? You should know the rulers do not always kill those who fight their power. On the pretext of a questionable morality that society blindly accepts as perfectly normal, these people are called fringes and parasites. We, therefore, the people of the fringe, believe the time has come to speak out. Why anonymous? Because, as the face of this sham democracy will live behind overpaid journalists, behind armies, police forces and salaried bogeymen, then the face of the truth will always be hidden behind the anonymity, behind a bright screen or behind balaclavas. Moreover, it doesn’t really matter who we are. What matters is ideas and values. These remain unspoiled. People do not.

Let’s stop being afraid of the darkness, cemeteries, ghosts and the dead. Let’s stop thinking that the earth is flat. Let’s look at the future of this world today. Let’s understand that justice, autonomy and freedom are not just mere words in books and encyclopaedic dictionaries. Let’s create communities where WE will decide for US. Let’s hear the sound of the drums, playing to the rhythm of those who are forsaken, to become an echo of many voices of peace. Let us all live together peacefully, without profit to poison our minds. We demand equality for all people of this planet, food, water and home for all. The world’s resources are enough to cover us all. Let us unite in the squares around the world, to win our independence and equality, with all and for all.

We are us, we are you, we are all…